Of Bees vs. HH in Luanshya

Of Bees vs. HH in Luanshya

By Clayson Hamasaka

Chief Communications Specialist
State House

I woke up on a Thursday morning to begin my usual work routine on the Copperbelt as part of the President’s working visit. The first engagement for President Hichilema was with drivers from various transportation sectors at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

While preparing in my hotel room in Kitwe, I received distress calls from the advance security teams inquiring whether the media were permitted at this meeting. I instructed them to allow the media to cover their interaction with the President. Another call involved concerns about the sitting arrangement; I had no immediate solution since I hadn’t yet arrived, so I skipped my breakfast and hurried to the stadium. Upon arrival, everything seemed fine.

After the President landed at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, I went to the holding room to perform my duties and then excused myself to rush to Luanshya to ensure everything was prepared for what I believed would be the highlight of the day. The advance security team and I checked every detail.

Upon reaching the Luanshya Mine Headquarters, everything was perfect. We then proceeded to the mine projects for a groundbreaking ceremony.

Next, we headed to the venue for the planned rally in Mpata Matu Township, where security immediately deemed the site completely inappropriate for the Head of State due to its dilapidation.

From my days in the opposition, struggling before the 2015 presidential by-election following the death of President Michael Sata, I recognized the venue as the decrepit place where we were often forced to hold meetings amidst violence.

During a closer inspection by security officers, they were alerted to the presence of bees in the playground around 10:00 AM.

Realizing the potential danger, I thought, “We can’t bring the President here with these bees.” The presence of bees could compromise his security.

It was suggested that the Copperbelt Veterinary Department and other health officials be called in to destroy the beehive. However, I wondered how the President would react to the destruction of the environment, which he cherishes, and whether I could keep this act hidden from him.

At that time, the President was engaged with drivers at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, so reaching him directly was not feasible. I sent a WhatsApp message to the President’s Principal Private Secretary, Mr. Bradford Machila, informing him of the situation.

Mr. Machila responded that the President had instructed us to focus on more significant issues rather than disturbing “insects” in their natural habitat.

Later, the President arrived at TVTC grounds and proceeded to the Luanshya Mine Headquarters. During a casual briefing, the bee situation was mentioned. The President, spotting me, joked, “Look at that guy, panicking over bees and telling me not to come here to officiate at such a huge project. He’s a villager who has been stung by bees several times yet never died. And that guy knows I have many dangerous creatures on my farms; in fact, even at my Community House in Lusaka, there are snakes, but I never take extreme measures to destroy them. Can we please focus on more important things like KCM and Mopani, rather than insects which we as human beings are going to disturb in their natural habitat?”

And that’s how the President saved those bees from total destruction.

Luanshya has been a ghost town, literally speaking. Once thriving Welfare Halls, Community Centres, Rugby Football Fields, and other stadiums had been reclaimed by nature, and have become home to creatures like bats, snakes, and bees. I read a sarcastic post from former President Lungu to his successor and the people of Luanshya about the bees. Ironically, this is an indictment against Mr. Lungu and his administration. For ten years, the PF had no solutions for the people of the Copperbelt, and the province had been left to decline.

It’s regrettable that under President Hichilema, the PF would rather focus on bees than on the efforts being employed to uplift the welfare of human beings. This is truly shameful.

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